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Why It's Hard For a Breastfeeding Mom to Go Back to Work

Photograph by Twenty20

Leaving your new baby to go back to work is tough for any parent, but for breastfeeding moms, there's at least one more obstacle in their way. A new study out of the University of Michigan reveals that 60 percent of working moms lack adequate time and space to pump breast milk. According to study lead author Katy Kozhimannil, "The benefits of breastfeeding are well documented. Unfortunately, many mothers who wish to continue breastfeeding when they return to work encounter logistical challenges."

According to the study less than half of the 2,400 moms who were surveyed had access to a private room to pump—and no, the bathroom doesn't count. Unsurprisingly, the study found that moms who did have access to appropriate resources were twice as more likely breastfeed for the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommended time of six months.

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And as all pumping working moms know, pumping sucks (pun intended) enough even when you do have a dedicated room and time to set up, pump for what you hope are enough ounces for the baby, then clean it all up only to start all over again a few hours later. So to be expected to keep up milk production for your baby while having no time or access to facilities? That's an uphill battle.

Given the fact that the Affordable Care Act mandated that breastfeeding moms have space and time to pump at work, Kozhimannil was taken aback by the findings. "It's a shame when the reason that women decide they can't is because it's too hard at work. That shouldn't be the case anymore."

No, it really shouldn't.

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